News: Air Force unites with the Army for WAREX
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. — A C-17 plane swoops in for a landing on the dirt air strip, leaving thick clouds of dust blowing upward behind it. Once stopped, the back of the giant plane opens to reveal several large cargo packs. Using tractors to remove the cargo, airmen efficiently unload the plane. But now it is time for a much more difficult task ⎯ unloading a 50-passenger bus. The airmen use lumber to create a makeshift ramp. If the ramp is too steep, the back of the bus will hit the plane. Slowly, the bus makes its way toward the back of the plane. It stops frequently so the airmen can remove lumber from behind it and place them in front. Finally, the back wheels of the bus hit the ground. A successful download.
Reserve airmen from the 42nd Aerial Port Squadron, stationed in Westover, Mass., loaded and downloaded cargo, including buses, ambulances and other vehicles, from C-17 planes during a three-week Warrior Exercise, starting June 9, 2012.
This is the first year WAREX is an accredited joint force operation. The Air Force Reserve is operating the runway at Camp Schoonover, one of the bases set up for the exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett.
“My job right now is to coordinate with the Army and make sure that my personnel have everything we need to load and download the aircraft safely and efficiently,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew L. Fairman, the senior enlisted officer in charge of airport functions with the 42nd APS.
Working with different branches of the military can present challenges, such as communication and cohesiveness, said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey L. Szymanski an air transportation specialist with the 42nd APS. But everyone participating in WAREX is doing his or her part to ensure success, he added.
“Everyone has been very helpful,” Szymanski said. “When you come into a place like this or if you’re deployed it’s one team, one fight and everybody works together.”
There has been significant communication advancement between the Army and Air Force since the start of the exercise.
“It’s always improved,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard A. Lutz, an air operations officer. “There was a lot of confusion initially in the planning and execution stages,” he said. “We’d say one thing intending something to happen and the Army would take it as another thing and make something else happen. And vice versa. But it’s grown to a really healthy relationship. And with all the joint basing going on now days, it’s a perfect example of how it will actually work out,” Lutz said.
“Every mission has its obstacles and you just have to overcome and adapt. And that’s what we’ve been trying to do.” Fairman said. “So far everything’s gone pretty good. You do what you have to do to get the mission done.”
“We’re all here as one. We’re here to work together and get the mission accomplished safely and efficiently,” added Fairman.
By loading and downloading the C-17 and other aircrafts, the Air Force Reserve contributes to WAREX and hope to do it again in the future.
Date Posted:06.13.2012 11:52
Location:FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, CA, US
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